The opening day of the first Test finished evenly poised with India reaching 255-5 at stumps in Johannesburg.
Virat Kohli enriched proceedings in the clash between the world’s top two ranked Test nations with 119 at the New Wanderers Stadium.
However, he was removed late in the day by Jacques Kallis to leave honours about even after India won the toss and elected to bat.
|M Vijay||c †de Villiers b Morkel||6||69||42|
|S Dhawan||c Imran Tahir b Steyn||13||37||27|
|CA Pujara||run out (Imran Tahir/Amla)||25||148||98|
|V Kohli||c Duminy b Kallis||119||257||181|
|RG Sharma||c †de Villiers b Philander||14||48||42|
|AM Rahane||not out||43||105|
|MS Dhoni*†||not out||17||46|
|Extras||(lb 3, w 14, nb 1)||18|
The Proteas made an early breakthrough when Shikhar Dhawan top-edged an attempted pull off Dale Steyn to Imran Tahir at fine leg after making 13.
His fellow opener Murali Vijay followed after a painstaking six, a lack of foot movement and a waft outside off-stump leading to a routine catch for AB de Villiers off the bowling of Morne Morkel.
India regrouped with a 89-run partnership for the third wicket, but Cheteshwar Pujara was comically run out midway through the afternoon session for 25.
Rohit Sharma then departed for 15 shortly before tea after attempting to drive Vernon Philander, but only succeeded in edging through to the grateful De Villiers behind the stumps.
4 - @VDP_24, in his 19th Test, needs 4 more wickets in this Test to pass Dale Steyn (20) as the fastest South African to 100 wickets. Race.— OptaJim (@OptaJim) December 18, 2013
Kohli shrugged off the loss of his batting partners to bring up his fifth Test century, his ton coming up off just 140 balls with 16 boundaries.
6 - @imVkohli hit his sixth international century of 2013 (second in Tests), joint-most with AB de Villiers and Shikhar Dhawan. Consistent.— OptaJim (@OptaJim) December 18, 2013
However, when he reached 119, he drove Kallis straight to JP Duminy at cover point and South Africa had a crucial breakthrough.
Ajinkya Rahane (43 not out), in just his second Test, and captain MS Dhoni (17 not out) saw the tourists through to stumps without further loss.
The teams are only playing a two-Test series with the second meeting beginning in Durban on Boxing Day.